Activists and Militants and Social Entrepreneurs…

From Todd Gitlin’s “Letters to a young activist” – when he’s not taking gratuitous and inaccurate pot shots (is there another kind) at Noam Chomsky, he’s actually worth reading…

By contrast, in this mainly antipolitical era, the label of choice is activist – and it’s poignant (though not altogether sad) that today were address recruits mainly one at a time, not as a movement. They don’t clump. I don’t remember hearing this ungainly word activist until the mid seventies. I had gone back to graduate school where I read through scholarly articles to see whether they made any sense of the whirlwind I had been through. There we were, an object of study: activists. I thought the term denatured, uncomprehending and evasive: a category label for the convenience of investigators. In the early New Left, we preferred organizer: someone who moves people into action and doesn’t just rouse them for a particular occasion, who doesn’t come and go but steadily works up strategies, focuses energies, and (crucially) settles in for the long haul. Europeans speak of militants, meaning more or less the reliables. Now people talk of social entrepreneurs – those who launch projects, construct organizations; these are social artists, in a sense, who create something new in the world.
Page 4

Advertisements

About dwighttowers

Below the surface...
This entry was posted in activism, framing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s